As a fundraising professional, you have to be ready to anticipate and answer the questions your donors are asking.

Every donor is unique. But as I’ve worked with many donors across the country on a variety of different projects, it has become clear:

They’re all dealing with a similar set of internal questions.

Sometimes they give voice to those questions, sometimes they don’t. Either way, our ability to anticipate and answer these questions is vitally important in building lasting relationships with them.

We started this list in an earlier post. Picking up where we left off, here are the rest of those pertinent concerns:

  1. Donors are asking if you will be able to handle the donation wisely.
  2. Donors are asking about assessment and evaluation.
  3. Donors want to know about the prior accomplishments of your organization.

Let’s break these questions down:

Will you be able to handle my donation wisely?

Donors want to know that their gift is going to meet the aim your organization communicated — you remember from my last post — the issue that connected with their interests and passions. They want to be reassured that their gift is not going to correct your organization’s mistakes.

What about assessment and evaluation? Your donor is actually asking a series of questions within this one.

Will you report back to me on the progress of the project you’ve asked me to support? When will it be done? How will you get back to me? An important part of what gives a donor a sense of fulfillment is the accomplishment of the project.

What about your organization’s prior accomplishments? This is all about your organization’s track record.

How has your organization performed in similar situations in the past? Did you succeed? Did you follow through on the things you said you would do?

The record of the past tells the donor that your organization has stayed on its intended mission for a period of time. Mission drift doesn’t inspire confidence in donors.

In my experience, with these questions and those we considered previously, it’s best to assume this information is desired by donors, and to offer it.

Your donors will seize upon the concepts of greatest importance to them — and your relationship with the donor will benefit.